Mens Rugby kicks off

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Its name is greeted with raised eyebrows, blank expressions and the proverbial “Oh…” It’s viewed as a mutated, cross-bred version of its better-known cousins from the gridiron and back net.
And it’s played and viewed by more student athletes and fans than many official athletic programs at UVU.
Meet Wolverine rugby, a club sport that boasts as much intensity as football or futbol. Onlookers who take a closer look will find traces of both sports, yet a game different from both.
Like soccer, the action hardly stops. Like football, there is an oblong ball and what looks remarkably like field goal posts. Unlike both, terms like “scrum” and “try” are technical rather than emotional.
Another difference, the sport boasts equality of the sexes. Where men dominate the line of scrimmage and women the goal area, UVU rugby boasts men’s and women’s teams. Both compete as Division II club teams.
Third-year player Sophia Wilson admitted the idea of rugby is greeted in the U.S. the same way football was in Sweden, where she lived for 18 years.
“I’d go to a football game and I had no clue as to what was going on,” Wilson said. “To me, rugby’s the sport I grew up with, and I love playing it.”
Wilson isn’t alone. Approximately 28 girls form the women’s team, and friends and family showed up in force for their Sept. 17 game against Weber State. The Wolverines won convincingly, shutting out the Wildcats 25-0. Wilson accounted for two scores, – or tries – running into the in-goal to for the first score of the second half before completing a falling lateral to Susan Scholtz for another score on the next possession.
The men’s team followed up with a win of their own, also against Weber State. The victory, however, did not come as easily. Play turned physical in the second half after the Wildcats scored to narrow the margin to 20-10. An on-field altercation led to a Weber St. yellow card, however, giving UVU a three-point penalty kick they would convert.
The Wolverines went on to win 30-10.
Freshman Percy Angilau, a West High product, led UVU with two first-half tries despite taking up rugby just months ago.
“We played a little sloppy, but we did what we needed to,” Angilau said. “We’ll need to fix some things before we play [Salt Lake Community College] next week.”
The women’s October schedule includes games against Utah, Utah State and Southern Utah University.

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